Illusory correlations in graphological inference.
King, Roy N.; Koehler, Derek J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Vol 6(4), Dec 2000, 336-348.
The authors investigate the illusory correlation phenomenon as a possible contributor to the persistence of graphology's use to predict personality. Participants unfamiliar with graphology inspected handwriting samples paired with fabricated personality profiles. In Experiment 1, handwriting samples and personality profiles were randomly paired. In Experiment 2, discernible correlations near unity were set between targeted handwriting-feature-personality-trait pairs in a congruent in an incongruent direction with graphologists' claims. In both experiments, participants' judgments of the correlation between designated handwriting-feature-personality-trait pairs agreed with graphologists' claims, even after controlling for their actual statistical association. Semantic association between words used to describe handwriting features and personality traits was the source of biases in perceived correlation. Results may partially account for continued use of graphology despite overwhelming evidence against its predictive validity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)